Jumbo Glacier Resort.


Summiting Jumbo Peak, circa 1998.
So Jumbo has finally been approved. I first read through the multi-volume development plan for the proposed Jumbo Glacier ski resort development in the early 90s. Looking at it through the critical eyes of a skier it seemed even then a kitsch fantasy of rich Euros cruising down glaciers in the sunshine. It was easy to dismiss as the doodlings of an eccentric old man looking to create a legacy, rather than a blueprint for a viable ski resort. Since then this high profile issue has attracted an array characters and interest groups looking to manipulate it to their advantage – reactionary pro-development politicians looking to enhance their right wing credentials, career environmentalists stirring up public anxiety on the thinnest of grounds, marginalized indigenous rights activists weaving a fable of spiritual dominion, existing tourism operators positioning themselves for compensation, and self-serving business types lining up on either side of the issue according to calculations of anticipated gain or loss. The whole bill-board littered area has already been exploited so shamelessly by hordes of cashed up and ethically bereft Albertans, that what is really just another real estate scam almost certainly doomed to failure (given the demographic prospects for ski resort real estate over the coming years), does not particularly surprise or concern me. Anybody crazy enough to invest in this debacle deserves to get fleeced. If I was one of the small number of people who actually live and recreate here I’d be royally pissed (and I wish them all success in their efforts to derail this thing), but these mountains and valleys are already logged to shit, over-run with commercial snowmobile tours and heli-skiers, and so hold little appeal to me. Given the relative insignificance of this proposed development compared to any number of examples of our shared environment being exploited for private gain (urban sprawl, endless clear-cuts, open cut coal mines, dammed valleys, commercial fisheries, fracking, tar sands etc.), I suspect most people getting worked up over this of another agenda, or no sense of proportion. My concern is to limit the public’s financial exposure to this private folly, and to not get distracted from the fundamental and systemic problem – the BC (and Federal) government’s evisceration of the public sector’s capacity to meaningfully manage the private exploitation of public resources in the public interest, and their complete disregard for the value of public recreation on public land. Jumbo is just a symptom.

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13 Comments

Filed under Backcountry, Eclectica

13 responses to “Jumbo Glacier Resort.

  1. Joel Beckmann

    c’mon stew tell us how you really feel;)

  2. Joel Beckmann

    I’m just kidding around, it’s an articulate piece. I suppose you could argue that Jumbo, with it’s funny name, long history and grizzly bears could be an excellent battleground. I agree the public interest always seems to come second or third with the BC Libs.

  3. al

    “It is unlike Colorado, which has valley bases over 2,000 meters (6,560 feet). Vail and Aspen are above 2,500 meters (8,200 feet) in elevation. In the interior of British Columbia there are valley bases in the 1,500 meters (4,900 feet) range with peaks and glaciers in the 3,000 meters (9,850 feet) range, in ideal climatic conditions… This is where, at least in one location, there should be a ski resort, if access could be found. ” -Jumbo Valley Resort – Project Summary.
    It’s obvious: If Vertical meters >= 1500m, then there should be a ski resort.
    No environmental, native title, public interest or land use issues can derail the devasting inevitability of this logic

  4. Leslie

    I think you nailed it! The people who live here should get to make the decision about what happens in their backyard. Not people who live in Saskatchawan or Alberta or Europe or Cranbrook. The people of Invermere and Nelson deserve to decide.

  5. Jock

    Good rant Stew. I just reviewed your link to the ‘Lost People of Mountain Village’ to remind myself of how bad it could get.

  6. Mike Koolen

    My concern is to limit the public’s financial exposure to this private folly, and to not get distracted from the fundamental and systemic problem – the BC (and Federal) government’s evisceration of the public sector’s capacity to meaningfully manage the private exploitation of public resources in the public interest, and their complete disregard for the value of public recreation on public land. Jumbo is just a symptom.

    Your words above are right on. Governments’ mandates have shifted from serving the people to facilitating the corporate takeover of natural resources public assets at whatever cost to the taxpayer.

  7. Derek Egan

    Great Post! You nailed every point.

  8. Well said. BC Industry- Rape n Run.

  9. Well said. BC condoned Industry: Rape n Run.

  10. D Cooke

    likeJoni Mitchel’s song … “they paved paradise and put up a parking lot … hahahhaa (sic). Sad….

  11. SH

    Having just read most decision of the appeal rejecting HK’s application to overturn the approval of Jumbo, all the comments about the evil Liberals and people saying that only people who live where I live or closer to the development should be able to decide on its fate, I must say that your rant is the only thing that even comes close to the truth on this whole subject. While the project is clearly worse for the environment and the bears than no project, it may just be better than the traditional BC interior economic drivers… Clear cutting, mining, huge hydro dams etc. I for one feel that only those who partake in the same outdoor activities as I do should have any say, but I also don’t want too many of them to take it up so as to not wreck it for me. It really pisses me off when people come from Alberta and fish in my streams. Perhaps what we really need is to just go back to the traditional ways of hunting, fishing and collecting berries.

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